Although Wisconsin high school hockey alums finding success in NCAA Division I or Division III often receive the coverage, plenty of former standouts have found their niche skating in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, the largest collegiate hockey governing body in the United States. Some of those players are now leaving their mark in the Western Collegiate Club Hockey Association (WCCHA), an ACHA Division II league featuring teams from Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.
Leading the pack at the semester break is former Wausau West Warrior Justin Anderson. Anderson, an impact forward for the University of Wisconsin, is part of a high-scoring first line for the Badgers. Anderson is currently second in the WCCHA in points with 44 (19 goals, 25 assists) in 20 games, which is also good for 20th place in the nation. He was 2016-2017 HM All-WCCHA and earned WCCHA All-Tournament Team honors in 2016. Anderson is also the club’s Vice President this season.
Another standout is Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Will Reabe, formerly of the De Pere Voyageurs. The two-time Honorable Mention All-State player is currently 4th in the WCCHA in points with 22 goals and 18 assists, placing him 37th in the nation. Reabe earned Honorable Mention All-WCCHA recognition in both 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.
In the Twin Cities, Dylan Ross has been a valuable player for the resurgent University of Minnesota. The Eau Claire Memorial Alum - a first team All-State player in 2016 - has put up 24 points in just 13 games for the Gophers, a clip of 1.85 PPG. Just one point behind him is UW-Eau Claire’s Jett Jaraczewski, a 2016 Honorable Mention All-State player from Notre Dame Academy. Jaraczewski has scored 10 goals and added 13 assists for the Blugolds.
Near the top of the defensive scoring charts is AJ Romanoski of UW-Eau Claire, whose 19 points from 4 goals and 15 assists is good for 4th place among WCCHA defensemen. Romanoski, a former Hudson Raider, was All-State Honorable Mention as a senior in 2015 and 2015-2016 Honorable Mention All-WCCHA. He also serves as UW-Eau Claire’s Club President.
In goal, Bethel’s Will Griswold - a 2014 Honorable Mention All-State goalie from Green Bay United - is among the WCCHA leaders in every statistical category. Griswold’s 9 wins is T-2, while his GAA of 3.26 is 8th and .917 save percentage is good for T-4. Wisconsin’s Trevor Macey, formerly of Arrowhead, is also among the top performers at the position. Macey is T-2 with 9 wins, 7th in GAA at 3.25 and 6th in save percentage at .915. He is also leading the club as its President this year.
Other former WHCA All-State honorees skating for WCCHA teams this season include Grant Hanson (D, Bethel / Superior), Wyatt Dove (F, St. Thomas / Hudson), Connor Freeman (D, Minnesota / KMMO), Ben Bartletti (G, UW-Eau Claire / Antigo), Tyler Husnick (F, UW-Eau Claire / Antigo), Zach Heidel (D, UW-La Crosse / Middleton), Ryan Schmidt (G, UW-La Crosse / Antigo), Jack Nejeldo (F, UW-La Crosse / Fon du Lac), Dylan Haskins (F, Minnesota-Duluth / Hudson) and Jesse Polson (D, UW-Superior / Superior). Altogether, 48 Wisconsin-raised players feature across the 12 WCCHA members.
WCCHA teams resume play next weekend, with two rounds of league action remaining before the 2018 WCCHA Tournament takes place Feb. 9-11, 2018 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota. Currently, the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the University of Minnesota and Bethel University have qualified, with 4 spots yet to be claimed. The winner of the tournament will earn the league auto-bid to Regionals, but could be joined by additional conference members should those teams qualify via the final regional ranking.
ABOUT THE WCCHA: The Western Collegiate Club Hockey Association is an ACHA Division II league based in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, with 12 member schools split into two divisions. All teams are part of the Central Region. For more information, visit the WCCHA website at www.wccha.com, follow the WCCHA on twitter (@wcchahockey) and/or like the WCCHA on facebook (http://facebook.com/wcchahockey).
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